It's not that anyone really needs another reminder that business-continuity plans should be near the top of the priority list, but with war in Iraq, political unrest in other parts of the world, nasty computer viruses, warnings of cyberterrorism, and economic uncertainty there are plenty of reminders. So maybe this is a good time to evaluate whether you really are prepared for a problem, big or small, that could interrupt your business. Is your supply chain nimble enough to handle a delay or shutdown in one or more areas of your business? I'm talking about flick-of-a-switch kind of prepared. Are your communication systems effective, internally and with your partners? Is your security strategy up to snuff? Do you have so many legacy systems that you can't integrate the applications or data to facilitate decision making?
Fortunately for some organizations, business continuity and critical IT projects are under way. For example, HMO Kaiser Permanente is turning on a new Internet-based bioterrorism-monitoring system at two Northern California facilities. Under development for about a year and a half, the system will track reports of unusual patient symptoms documented by physicians. County health officials can use the data to spot symptom outbreaks that could indicate a bioterrorist attack or other health crisis.
The health of a business is also critical in continuity planning. Just ask Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America. Last fall, a dispute between shipping companies and the people who load and unload cargo halted business in 28 ports. Today, the company is more nimble thanks to new supply-chain planning software that helps it reroute shipments or create new delivery schedules.
As the uncertainty of the economy continues, are you keeping the right projects on the right track?
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